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My Journey to Learn Japanese in 90 days

Do you think my 90 day goal to have a 10-15min conversation in Japanese is an achievable goal?

  • Yes

    Votes: 6 66.7%
  • No

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I'm not sure

    Votes: 3 33.3%

  • Total voters
    9

fluentsamurai

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Hello fellow Japanese speakers/learners,

I've embarked on a challenge to learn Japanese in 90 days and I have been posting my progress on Youtube. I want to learn enough Japanese in the 90 days that I'll be able to have a very basic 10-15min conversation in Japanese with a native speaker. Once the 90 days is up, I will post the final video of myself having the 10-15min unscripted conversation in Japanese on my Youtube Channel.

Goal:
Learn enough basic Japanese to have a 10-15 min conversation in Japanese.
Inspire others to take the big step and learn Japanese.

Why do I want to learn Japanese?
My girlfriend is Japanese and I would like to talk to her in her native language.
I will be travelling to Japan in June.
I loved the anime's Deathnote & Sword Art Online. After watching both of these with Japanese Audio and English Subs I considered the idea of learning Japanese.

Length of Mission:
90 days.
Approx 1-2 hours study Japanese per day.

Method:
Each day learn 10-15 Japanese sentences.
Form a short story using these sentences.
Post my progress on my Youtube Channel "Fluent Samurai"

My reasons for sharing this post on this forum is because I want to get involved in the Japanese learning community and speak to others who are taking part in the challenging journey of learning Japanese. So please, if you have any feedback good/bad please share it with me.

I'm currently on Day 11 of my Journey, my last video that I uploaded was "13 Useful Japanese Sentences at the Bar - Day 6 Learning Japanese" - I construct my videos so that those who are learning Japanese can also learn some Japanese from watching my videos. Subtitles are included.

Also, my introduction video is here (This is video is just in English) -
TLDR:
  • Learning enough Japanese in 90 days to have a 10-15min conversation
  • My girlfriend is Japanese, I am going to Japan in June
  • Youtube video of my progress is here:
 

mdchachi

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Yes for sure you can have a 15 minute conversation. The question is how fluent or painful it will be. I'm thinking back to sitting with my host-dad 20+ years ago trying to have a conversation with dictionary in hand. We spoke for longer than 15 minutes, no problem. :D
 

Mike Cash

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If you don't mind an incredibly stilted conversation on incredibly limited topics with incredibly limited vocabulary and no end of errors and odd constructions then certainly you can do it. The problem is that you have created a "how long is a piece of string?" scenario in which the parameters are so ill-defined that you can't help but succeed.

Ill-defined goal aside, you will certainly learn a lot and it will be very beneficial. I applaud your enthusiasm.
 

fluentsamurai

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Yes for sure you can have a 15 minute conversation. The question is how fluent or painful it will be. I'm thinking back to sitting with my host-dad 20+ years ago trying to have a conversation with dictionary in hand. We spoke for longer than 15 minutes, no problem. :D
Good good, nice to hear it worked for you. When I hear about 90 day challenges, my "scam" warning alarm always goes off. Such as "Get rich or get ripped in ONLY 90 days!" But, this goal seemed achievable for myself, and I feel happy with the progress I've made so far. On my 90 day video where I have the conversation in Japanese, I plan not to be using a dictionary, if there's a word I don't understand I will try and work my way around it, or I will just face the embarrassment.
 

fluentsamurai

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If you don't mind an incredibly stilted conversation on incredibly limited topics with incredibly limited vocabulary and no end of errors and odd constructions then certainly you can do it. The problem is that you have created a "how long is a piece of string?" scenario in which the parameters are so ill-defined that you can't help but succeed.

Ill-defined goal aside, you will certainly learn a lot and it will be very beneficial. I applaud your enthusiasm.
"How long is a piece of string" Completely agree I've created this and I was worried at first thinking maybe I should change my goal to something more specific. However, when I first created this goal I considered exactly what you said "Ill-defined goal aside, you will certainly learn a lot and it will be very beneficial." I guess it's just up to me to show myself, how long I can make this piece of string in the 90 days. I've tried to learn Japanese in the past before, unfortunately it was very unsuccessful... to even consider having a 2min conversation about any chosen topic back then would've been a laughing matter.
 

Mike Cash

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"How long is a piece of string" Completely agree I've created this and I was worried at first thinking maybe I should change my goal to something more specific. However, when I first created this goal I considered exactly what you said "Ill-defined goal aside, you will certainly learn a lot and it will be very beneficial." I guess it's just up to me to show myself, how long I can make this piece of string in the 90 days. I've tried to learn Japanese in the past before, unfortunately it was very unsuccessful... to even consider having a 2min conversation about any chosen topic back then would've been a laughing matter.
There is nothing wrong with having an ill-defined goal if it serves the purpose of getting you moved toward it. Unlike a clearly defined goal, the chances are you'll not be satisfied you've met it and will keep on working toward it rather than putting your feet up when you've arrived.

If it is any comfort to you, my own ill-defined goal was "reasonable proficiency in ten years" (and I failed the first Japanese class I ever took).
 

Kinetic11

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Sounds like a good challenge that will hopefully keep you motivated to keep learning beyond the 90!

What I'm curious about is, do you already know who the native speaker will be? Is it your girlfriend? Or an unknown 3rd party, one that doesn't know what your plans are (and won't intentionally talk down to your level to make it easier for you)?
 

Kinetic11

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I've only just started too, so it will be fun for me to watch your video in 90 days and measure my own progress alongside someone else and see how much I also can keep up with in the conversation. :)
 
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Nebulahime14

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I'm wondering if you're trying the FI3M method, given that you're doing this in 90 days and documenting your progress. In general, I kinda think that whole thing is a bit of a brainwashing scam, but the goal you have seems to be fairly solid, although a tad vague.
My advice to you would be this: learn what's relevant to you. And by that I mean pick up the grammar, vocab, and slang you'll need to talk to your girlfriend about either ONE topic in detail or several topics lightly. There's a lot out there, and several free, online courses you can take (or paid tutors on Cafetalk), but you can seriously do a lot better with the free articles and stored knowledge that can be found literally with a couple relevant keywords into any given search engine. Find out what your girlfriend's major interests are--if you don't already know them--and try to prepare yourself to talk about that for as long as you feel you can.
In any case, I wish you good luck both with your studies and your girlfriend.
 

Mike Cash

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Just took a look at the linked videos. I have my doubts about the efficacy of the approach you're using of learning set phrases and sentences rather than learning grammar and vocabulary and working on being able to construct your own sentences as needed. You're going to find conversation dies a sudden death as soon as it drifts from what you've learned pre-prepared sentences for. That approach will get a tourist a beer, meal, and a hotel room but it won't facilitate an actual conversation.

Where your approach will really break down will be Japanese politeness levels. The other person can use vocabulary you could otherwise handle except in a different politeness register which makes things sound like completely different words you've never heard before. At the very least try to include learning the various forms of verb and adjective conjugation off by heart and practice forming them. Japanese conjugation may appear complicated, but it has the great merit of being extraordinarily regular. Further, since Japanese doesn't insist on speaking in "complete" sentences one can often slide by with just the verb.

Learn your conjugations first. As they are regular and based/grouped by easily recognizable patterns it makes it easy to correctly apply the patterns to new verbs you learn "on the fly" in the course of a conversation. It also makes it pretty easy to "reverse engineer" in your head back to its basic form for either looking up in a dictionary or just using it right away in a different form. Trust me, no single thing you do regarding Japanese study will have more immediate or lasting practical real-world value than learning conjugation.
 

cocoichi

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90 days times 2 hours = 180 hours max.
it is not a lot of time, and I think it requires a lot of narrowing down your objectives.

It seems that your main purpose is conversation, so I would:
Spend 5 to 10 hours on getting hiragana (and if you have time left within the 10 hours, katakana).
Spend 20 hours on the most common 50 to 100 kanji
Spend about 50 hours on elementary grammar (past/present affirmative/negative, counting)
Spend 50 hours on vocabulary
and finally, spend 50 hours trying to practise conversation using all of what you have learned in the other 130 hours.

You could also just memorize a lot of sentences in romaji in 180 hours, but than it would be just like a calculator: you produce an answer, without really understanding what you have done. Learning becomes easier when you understand the mechanics behind it.
 

Nebulahime14

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Learn your conjugations first. As they are regular and based/grouped by easily recognizable patterns it makes it easy to correctly apply the patterns to new verbs you learn "on the fly" in the course of a conversation. It also makes it pretty easy to "reverse engineer" in your head back to its basic form for either looking up in a dictionary or just using it right away in a different form. Trust me, no single thing you do regarding Japanese study will have more immediate or lasting practical real-world value than learning conjugation.
Amen to that. Here's a wonderful guide for learning ACTUAL conjugations, instead of the average textbook's "conjugations".
Verb Basics | Learn Japanese
 

WonkoTheSane

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Really depends on your conversation partner. There are a hell of a lot of native English speaking people with whom I can't have 15 minute conversations in English.

Some people are interesting, some are accommodating. Some are both and some are neither. Those who are both can be apt conversation partners for far longer then 15 minutes with well less than 90 days of learning... As long as that learning is focused and useful for the particular conversation one wishes to have.
 

Mike Cash

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I hope at least the daily study regimen has survived the initial rush of enthusiasm. The video updates seem to have died a quiet death.
 

Mike Cash

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The 90 days have come and gone.

Apparently having one's girlfriend translate random sentences for one to memorize isn't a method that generates results or stick-to-it-iveness.

I think we put more energy into discussing his quickly abandoned project with him than he put into the project.
 

madphysicist

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The 90 days have come and gone.

Apparently having one's girlfriend translate random sentences for one to memorize isn't a method that generates results or stick-to-it-iveness.

I think we put more energy into discussing his quickly abandoned project with him than he put into the project.
I think this approach could work for learning a language that's very similar to one's native language. But when it comes to Japanese for English speakers I don't believe there's any "quick-fix" solution that can produce significant results in 3 months.

Having a Japanese boyfriend or girlfriend is perhaps only just behind anime/manga as motivations that quickly falter in the face of actually having to put long-term effort in.
 

WonkoTheSane

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I think this approach could work for learning a language that's very similar to one's native language. But when it comes to Japanese for English speakers I don't believe there's any "quick-fix" solution that can produce significant results in 3 months.

Having a Japanese boyfriend or girlfriend is perhaps only just behind anime/manga as motivations that quickly falter in the face of actually having to put long-term effort in.
Having a Japanese significant other, when one doesn't yet speak Japanese, is a detriment in my opinion. It means the primary person one wishes to speak to already speaks a different shared language (often English). That dynamic probably won't change. Suddenly he or she is ordering in restaurants, handling difficulties, and generally taking over all of the opportunities to be challenged.

I believe strongly in separating love from learning, the one rarely facilitates the other.
 

madphysicist

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Having a Japanese significant other, when one doesn't yet speak Japanese, is a detriment in my opinion. It means the primary person one wishes to speak to already speaks a different shared language (often English). That dynamic probably won't change. Suddenly he or she is ordering in restaurants, handling difficulties, and generally taking over all of the opportunities to be challenged.

I believe strongly in separating love from learning, the one rarely facilitates the other.
Yup, if your partner speaks great English (or whichever language) any motivation stemming from them will die pretty quickly. Although when I was in Japan I was casually dating someone whose English was fairly poor, and since my Japanese was much worse back then we communicated in a mix of languages... it worked for us. I had practice speaking and was motivated to learn more so we could have better conversations. So I think in limited circumstances it can help, but probably not as a sole motivation.
 
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